The Tale of Two Races: Hyannis and Salem

I confess I have a slight race obsession. I just can’t help the love I have for the high I feel when I cross that start line with other people that love running just as much as I do (some probably even more!). There’s a certain exhilaration that you get when running through the streets that are usually filled with cars, not having to dodge pedestrians on the side walk and people that aren’t running staring at you like you’re completing some amazing feat. I mean you are accomplishing something big whether you win or come in last, whether it’s your first race or 100th. You’re doing something others can’t. Plus, I love the feel of the medal around my neck after I cross that finish line and search for the nearest bottle of water.

But not all races are created equal. Yes, there’s 5ks and marathons, ironmans and road races. But even the body that you have prepared for that day may not be the same as it was the day before the weekend before. Boy did I learn that the hard way. 

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On February 28th I participated in the Hyannis Half Marathon down on the Cape. As you know, the weekend before I ran an awesome half marathon, I may not have gotten a PR or anything but it was fun and I felt great after running 13.1 miles. This weekend, not so much. The night before I was up late because I had a fundraiser event for the Boston Marathon. I didn’t eat my usual pre-race meal and I had a few (see: 3 ciders) drinks. This messed me up. Three miles into the race, I looked at my friend who caught up to me after I had slowed down significantly and said, “I don’t think I can run another 10 miles.”

Let me tell you, this is the only race that I have EVER seriously considered quitting. I was nauseated, IMG_2366dehydrated and I hurt all over. I was able to stay with her for the first seven miles after she generously gave me one of her shot bloks. But after that I just couldn’t keep up. Every step was more labored, my breathing heavy and my stomach volatile. I had my honey stinger gel which usually gives me a burst of energy, but even that failed me this day. I walked a lot, I promised Jesus (I’m not very religious but some times I can ask him for help) that I wouldn’t drink again until after Boston. Haha, silly but true. I did finally cross the finish line…the slowest I’ve ever done (even slower than the weekend before and stopping to take pictures!), but I finished. Then I threw up, three times.IMG_2363

Fast forward to two weeks later and I’m at the Salem Black Cat 20 miler. The longest run I’ve taken on to date (I will be breaking that this weekend as I take on the first 21 miles of the Boston marathon route…home field advantage has its perks!). I followed my pre race rituals to protocol. I had chicken parm for dinner, I hydrated properly all day and I went to black cat1bed early. I felt great and ready to go the next day. Aside from a minor slip up (okay, major), where my nutrition for the race (one honey stringer gel and one pack of clif shot bloks) fell out of my pocket at the start line, the run went really well. Since I had a lack of sugar in body, I did hit a wall at 16 miles and I had to turn to a run/walk. I ran as hard as I could for 2 minutes and walked a minute for the remaining 4 miles. I missed my goal by only 4 minutes which I don’t think is too bad considering.

Just goes to show, even though I did 6.9 miles more that weekend than I had 2 weekends before, preparation makes a huge difference. As I approach these final weeks of marathon training I’m sticking to my plan. I’m not drinking until post marathon (oh I can’t wait for that post race cider!!!) and before every long run I’m making sure I don’t disrupt my flow. Even though the road to Boston has not been easy for me between bad races, fundraising stress and injuries, I’m determined to get to that finish line feeling good about how far I’ve come!!! IMG_2410
And there is me cheesing as I cross that finish line!
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Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Sorry for being so MIA this week, I spent all last weekend exploring Disney World and running the 8th annual Disney Princess Half Marathon!!! It has been one of the races that I have wanted to run for a very long time and I want to just say, now that I have had the opportunity to run it, I can say I was not disappointed. There are a lot of high lights from the race so let me just pick a few for you.

1. This race starts before the crack of dawn. Yes, I woke up at 3am so that I get the start line on time….at 5:30am. There were about 20,000 other runners that suffered through this early morning alarm with me though and the energy surrounding me made it seem a little less painful.

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2. Every corral gets fireworks. Yes every single one. I was exciting when they went off the first time, then they kept going off and it was awesome! Yes, I am probably going to say everything was awesome because really it was. I was in corral E and the first wave went out right at 5:30am like they said it would happen. It took about 10 for my corral to cross the start line and then the fun began!!!

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3. There are characters ALL over the course. I skipped the first few because the lines were ridiculously long or I just wasn’t interested in taking pictures with them. There was also other entertainment along the course like marching bands, brass drums and gospel choirs. Almost everyone running is in costume too, it gave me so many ideas for next time! This year I ran as Pocahontas which was a good choice because she’s such an underrated character, there was hardly anyone else dressed as her!

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4. We got to run through Magic Kingdom before it opened for the day. As soon as I rounded the corner and saw Cinderella’s castle I teared up a little bit. Disney World has always had a special place in my heart and doing the run was really magical for me.

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5. There are chEAR squads all along the course so there are constantly people cheering you on and making some noise as you run! It was really uplifting and at mile 10 really picked up my spirits. I got a burst of energy and started cheering a long with them. I thanked all the volunteers loudly and cheered on the people around me. I’ve never felt so invigorated after running 10 miles.

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I would definitely do this race again and I definitely recommend it to anyone that wants to run a half marathon or enjoys running half marathons. Here are some of the highlights of why this race was so awesome:

-High energy from races and spectators!
-Lots of entertainment on the course to keep your energy up
-Tons of opportunities to take pictures with characters.
-Wearing a costume
-Music along the course so you don’t need your own!
-Lots of water stops and bathrooms
-Running through Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s Castle!!!
-Flat course with a few hills
-Lots of water stops!!!
-SUPER organized for such a big race!!!!

Hopefully I see you down in Orlando next year!!!

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Whole 30 Week 4 and the aftermath

I made it through the last and final week of my Whole 30. Let me tell you, that this was not easy. My boyfriend and I decided to make a last minute move into a new apartment, my work schedule got crazy and I worked from 3 different offices as well as my part time job. I was bouncing around really with no home all week. This meant no time to really cook, pack food etc. so I had to eat out and with such a restrictive diet there’s very limited places that I could actually eat and stay compliant.

What did this mean for me? Well I ate a lot of grilled chicken salads with vinegar and oil. Also, bunless burgers. It wasn’t the most exciting for glamorous week for food.

But now what right?

I just did 30 days of clean eating, no sugar, dairy, alcohol, grains etc. I feel great, my stomach is happier, I’m happier with my appearance and everything seems to be functioning better. I certainly don’t want to go back to the way things were. But it’s also unrealistic to continually eat in such a strict manner in this day and age. I love working out and I need carbs for energy, but there are just so many potatoes I can stomach in one week. So, for the last week after finishing the Whole 30, I am slowly adding things back in. This week I started with dairy, I have a hard time getting in enough protein and I need yogurt in the morning to get a little boost to my intake. I also just love cheese, so dairy was definitely first.

I also added back in brown rice. No pasta and breads for me yet (except for Super Bowl sunday…but my belly regretted that immediately). I think I’m going to stick with this diet for now. There’s enough for variety for me, there’s tons of gluten free options out there and it’s not so restrictive where I can’t eat out with friends!

Are you thinking about doing the Whole 30? Have you already done a Whole 30? Tell me about why or how it went!

Whole 30 week 3!!

We are grinding down to the end of this and let me tell you, while I don’t miss bread and pasta as much. I do miss rice and other grains. I also miss cheese.

As you know, before I started this journey with the Whole 30, I planned it out. I did my research, I found recipes that were compliant and I made sure that I was never second guessing what I was going to eat. Well, I failed this week. Most of my meals were not pleasing to my palate and I ended up scraping most of it.

Breakfast: Sausage and potato hash
This meal was probably my only success for the week. I did end up adding eggs to it every morning, because while it tasted good, after the first day of eating it, I was still HUNGRY!!!
2 lbs white potatoes, cubed (small!)IMG_4814
1 lb Italian mild sausage (read ingredients to find one without sugar)
1 onion finely diced
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil (or coconut oil), brown sausage and cook through. Remove and place in towel lined bowel. Add potatoes and cook for about 5 min then add onion and saute for about 5 mins then add bell pepper. Stir in cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in sausage. Serve.
Lunch: Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken on baked sweet or regular potato.

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This recipe turned out ALRIGHT. I ate it for three days and then got sick of it. I’ve never really had a loaded potato like this before so I wanted to try it out. The sauce just didn’t do it for me and it was definitely better on a regular potato because it made the sweet potato just too sweet.
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
10 pitted-medjool dates
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lemon juiced
1 tbsp coconut amino acids
1 lb boneless chicken thighs.
Basically just throw it all in the crock pot for 8 hours on low. Bake a potato and top it.
Dinner: Butternut squash soup, burger and side salad.

Not going to bother with the butternut squash soup recipe. It was boring bland and I threw most of it out. I had the burger and side salad but ended up just eating another baked potato. I’m kind of sick of potatoes right now.

Well everyone, stay tuned for my last and final week of the Whole 30!!!

Whole 30 Week 2

 

Week two is in the books of the Whole 30. I won’t lie. I was craving donuts at the beginning of the week. Really badly. I almost broke down. But the thought of going back to constantly feeling bloated and burping all the time deterred me. Plus I want to do this the right way. I’m also feeling better in my own skin again. Can somebody say hello abs? These babies haven’t made an appearance in years. Per the rules of the Whole 30 I have no weighed myself. But I’m loving what I see!!image1

Week 2 menu:

Breakfast: Southwest Breakfast Casserole

Lunch: Spaghetti Squash and meatballs

Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry

Southwest Breakfast Casserole

I was surprised by this one, I usually don’t like ground chicken. It’s just weird to me, but I enjoyed this recipe!

1 red bell pepperIMG_2027
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
1 lb ground chicken
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
7 oz can of chopped green chili

6 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Chop peppers and onion and cook them in a skillet until onion is translucent. Set aside to cool. Add chicken to skillet and juice from the green chili, cook until slightly browned. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and coconut milk. Once the chicken and veggies are cooled to room temperature mix into eggs and pour into a 9-in greased pie pan. Bake for 35-40 min!

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

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Probably my favorite meal this week. I didn’t even miss real pasta and the spaghetti squash was surprisingly filling!

1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 medium sized spaghetti squash
24 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 egg

In large bowl mix together the ground beef, basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and coconut flour. Mix together with hands until well incorporated, add in egg and continue to mix. Form into large meatballs, about 6-8. Grease skillet, brown meatballs on each side. You don’t have to cook thoroughly, they will cook in the crock pot. Add meat balls to slow cooker, top meat balls with tomatoes, onion and garlic. Serve with fresh basil and spaghetti squash.

Chicken Stir Fry

IMG_2075 (1)So I kind of winged this one. There’s no real recipe, I just took a chicken breast and whatever vegetables I had (mushroom, spinach, pepper, and onion) and sauteed it all together in some coconut oil. It was pretty bland so I found a Whole 30 approved Tahini sauce at Trader Joe’s and added that. It made a HUGE difference. Some times you just have to experiment and see what works for you. I have to say that my meals are usually anything BUT boring!

 

 

Here are some other meals that I tried during the weekend:

 

Sweet potato hash with eggs:

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Prosciutto wrapped chicken thighs with a baked potato and side salad:

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B Good Burger with no bun, avocado and an egg with sweet potato fries:  IMG_2054

Detox your life now!

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First, this post isn’t about detoxing your body, this is about detoxing your life of the negative energy. Have you ever had a relationship with the someone that just drains you? They complain about their problems but don’t do anything to change their situation, they shoot you down at every chance that they get or nothing that comes out of their mouth is positive whether it’s about them, you or someone else. If you answered yes, then you have a toxic person in your life.

I’ve been victim to these relationships myself. In fact, one of the girls that I thought to be one of my best friends in college, was probably one of my most toxic relationships.  We met day one freshman year of college in Bio 150 and were close throughout those four years and afterwards as well. Even when we lived in different states we would talk every day. But every decision I made for myself was wrong because it wasn’t how she was living her life and she constantly was complaining about SOMETHING. Everything was hard and stressful for her, yet she never seemed to do anything to change her job, her living situation or anything. It finally came down to the last straw when she was planning her wedding, I had just start a new job as a personal trainer and wasn’t making enough money to fly out to her wedding, get a hotel room, rent a car and buy a gift. So I decided that I couldn’t attend, it was just not financially responsible for me at the time. Well I heard it. It was her big day and I was being selfish, I had known about it for 6 months so I should have planned better and saved more money. Well, I had, but I decided to make a big leap in my career and take this job so whatever I had saved up I needed to keep in savings so that I could afford to live. But she couldn’t see it that way and told me I would never amount to anything.

That’s when I decided that this relationship was no longer contributing anything positively to my life. So I told her good bye, blocked her number and have not spoken to her again. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do and sometimes I still wonder how she’s doing.

But that’s when I realized I felt like I had a huge burden lifted off of my shoulders.  I was no longer drained from talking to her. I didn’t have our daily conversations that were filled with negative gossip and unwanted advice. But I also learned a lot, like how to identify these toxic people and stop or end the relationship before it goes too far.

That’s Step one: Identify the Toxic People in your life.

-Toxic people make you feel worse than when you started talking to them. They bring your energy level down. They leave you feeling bummed out. Notice how your body feels after talking to them, particularly your chest and stomach which are areas where most of us carry stress and anxiety.
-There is a difference between someone sharing with you their struggles/challenges versus someone who constantly complains
-Toxic people shoot down your ideas. They always question what you’re doing. They may say something like, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t change careers because you have so much job security here. What about your benefits? Or your retirement?” This is pretty common and sometimes subtle and harder to notice. Even though it may sound like they’re giving you advice, in the end they’re just putting more doubts into your head because your actions may bring up their own fears and insecurity.

Step two: Let them go.

-Listen to Nike. Just do it. Use whatever method you see appropriate, you might want to just say good bye and cut it off cold turkey or gracefully bow out of their life slowly, apologize for being distant but you don’t need to defend your actions.
-Avoiding explanations, they may take it personally and probably get defensive but YOU need to be your own best friend and do what’s best for you.

Step three: Don’t feel guilty

-Like I said before, you need to do what’s best for your and if that relationship isn’t doing it anymore then it’s time to move on. That happens, we grow up and we change and sometimes relationships don’t withstand that change.
-You’ve tried your best to keep that relationship going, but at some point we need to realize that unless they’re willing to put in the effort as well, then you should not waste anymore energy.

Step four: Bring on the positivity!!

-Find relationships that are fulfilling and supportive.
-Surround yourself with encouragement and people that inspire you to do big things in your life!

Share with me your experiences with negative relationships and how you’ve detoxed your life or how you need to start!!

The Whole 30 Week 1

With week one under my belt I can definitely tell that my stomach has been so much better (aka less burps) . It’s hard to say energy wise how I’m doing since I just added a second job on top of a full time job and training for a marathon. But I have no cravings for any of the off limit foods and I think it’s because I’ve had good meals to look forward to.

Week 1 meal plan was the following:

Breakfast- Spaghetti squash quiche

Lunch- Chicken tenders with roasted potatoes and broccoli

Dinner- Sweet potato chili

 

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This was probably my favorite of the week. I didn’t even miss the cheese that I would usually put in an egg-y dish!

1 spaghetti squash

6 whole eggs

Mixings of your choosing: I used 5 slices of bacon, mushrooms and spinach

Bake spaghetti squash at 350 for 40 min, remove and leg cool. Once cooled use fork to remove the squash from shell. Take a 9 in greased pie pan and smoosh the squash to the sides of the pan so it creates a “crust.” Place chopped mixings into the crust

In a separate bowl whisk together the 6 eggs. Pour over the mixings in the crust and then bake for about 40 min or until egg has settled.

About 5 servings

 

Chicken tenders

These were super tasty, but I think next time I’ll pan fry them and then stick them in the oven for a little bit too.

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1 egg

1 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk or other nondairy milk of your choosing

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

 

 

In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg and unsweetened coconut milk.

In a second bowl combine the coconut flour, garlic powder and salt.

Dredge the chicken in the egg mixture and coat with the coconut flour mixture. Lightly fry in a pan with coconut oil until cooked all the way through.

 

Sweet Potato Chili

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I was skeptical of this meal because I’m so used to traditional bean chili topped with cheese. But this was delicious all on its own. When shopping for the ingredients for this recipe though, make sure you’re reading labels to make sure you’re not buying anything with added sugar to it.

1 onion (chopped)

1 15oz can tomato sauce IMG_1992

1 15 oz can diced tomato

1 can water

1 large sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch cubes

1 lb ground beef

1 1/2 tbsp cocao powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in crock pot, breaking up beef before putting it in. Cook and low for 8-10 hours. Enjoy!

The Whole 30

Last year I tried the Isagenix 30 day cleanse and that helped me shed a lot of weight and get me back on track in 2015 when it came to my health and fitness goals. I mananged to lose and keep off 15 pounds, run two 5ks, a 10k, 3 half marathons and 2 sprint distance triathlons. But my body hasn’t completely healed from the hell I put it through when I decided to participate in a bikini competition 3 years ago and fell back down the rabbit hole of eating disorders.

in 2014 I landed in the emergency room with horrible stomach pains and vomiting blood. Turns out at the rip old age of 26 I had a stomach ulcer, which is not unheard of, but not very common apparently for someone my age. My stomach has never been the same. When I eat certain things like the fake sugar alcohols found in a lot of protein bars, or when I get incredibly stressed out I get these horrible, sounds like I’m going to throw up burps.
I knew that I had to do something about this if I really wanted to ever be in my best health. So this year, without having to go through a battery of tests, I decided to cut all the things that might be irritating my stomach. That’s where the Whole 30 comes in.
The Whole 30 isn’t a cleanse or a diet. It’s basically a stripping of your normal diet in order to reset your metabolism and negative effects certain foods have on your system. You don’t eat small amounts of feed, there are no shakes, it’s simply cutting things out. In short, no grains (bread, pasta, rice, quinoa etc.), no dairy, sugar and no legumes. After the 30 days of cutting these foods out, I am going to slowly add them back in to see what effects my stomach. Starting with dairy, because I really don’t want to live the rest of my life without cheese!!!!
So what am I eating to keep my energy up while training for a marathon? Lots of potatoes and squash. Before I even decided to commit to this I did a lot of research and planned out my 30 days of meals. I’m a creature of habit so I can eat the same things throughout the week without getting sick of it as long as I change it up the next week and on the weekends getting creative with eating out yet still sticking to the Whole 30.
Here’s what it looks like:
Week 1:

Breakfast: Spaghetti Squash Quiche
Lunch: Slow cooker Sweet Potato Chili
Dinner: Chicken tenders, roasted potatoes and broccoli
Week 2: 
 
Breakfast:  Southwest Breakfast Casserole
Lunch: Spaghetti Squash and meatballs (slow cooker)
Dinner: Chicken stir fry
Week 3: 
Breakfast: Sausage and sweet potato hash
Lunch: Slow cooker BBQ chicken on a bake potato
Dinner:  Butternut squash soup, burger and green vegetable
Week 4: 
 
Breakfast: Sausage and egg breakfast bites
Lunch: Paleo Meat Loaf, roasted potatoes and veg
Dinner: Slow cooker chicken fajitas with avocado
Snacks: Fruits like apples, celmentines, and bananas. Different nuts and almond butter!
Stay tuned for some of these recipes coming up in the next few weeks!

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

I have been dying to get a crock pot for almost a year, just never got around to picking one up while I’m at the store. I won’t lie, I’m disappointed with myself, that I didn’t get one sooner!! My dad finally gave me one for Christmas and I have been having a blast cooking things up! Last week I made chicken enchilada soup and it was not only delicious, but super easy! Cut my meal prep time in half!!!

This soup is perfect for those cold winter days that are finally starting to come around to warm you up and stay healthy!!!

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Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

1.5 cups vegetable broth

1 14oz can of diced tomatos

1 14oz can of red enchilada sauce

1 can corn

1 can of drained, rinsed black beans

Optional toppings: tortilla chips, cheese, avocado

  1. Place all ingredients in crock pot and set on low for 8 hours
  2. Use spoon to break up chicken breast (mine was so tender it just shredded itself  when I stirred it)
  3. Serve and add any additional toppings.

 

Told you that was super easy!!!! If you want to it to be gluten free, find gluten free tortilla chips and make sure you find a gluten free enchilada sauce! Enjoy!!

Protein Pancake Muffins!

I, like many people, struggle with getting enough protein in my breakfast in the morning. Which has been a shame because I’ve found it super important for me to get enough protein in the morning so I don’t crash early on in the day. But my problem is, I get sick of yogurt especially during the winter. I like eggs but I don’t have time to cook them every morning and I’m not a huge fan of reheating them. I love protein pancakes but that’s also hard to travel well…so I decided to combine the famous egg muffin idea with a protein pancake.

Results: SUCCESS!!!

I made these beauties, they’re super easy to make and delicious! Here’s the recipe for you…IMG_1359

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 container (5.3 oz) siggi’s vanilla bean yogurt
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 scoop of protein (I used Whey Better’s peanut butter)
  • toppings of your choice (I used Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If it’s too think add either coconut or almond milk. Use muffin liners in your pan (I found that the tin ones are better, the paper ones were hard to peel off and I ended up eating paper). Pour evenly into muffin cups (about 6-8 muffins) place on toppings and bake for about 20 mins or until tooth pick comes out clean.

Serve and enjoy!!!!